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CAN YOU CUT SUMMER WATER USE? SOME MONEY-SAVING TIPS OFFERED

If Salt Lake water users don't cut consumption in summer months, they'll end up paying more under the city's proposed new rate schedule. The biggest drain on water use during the summer is watering the lawn.

But it's possible to scale back lawn watering to about once every three or four days and still have nice green grass, according to Steve Law, home and garden product manager for Intermountain Farmers Association. The trick is getting the lawn to develop deeper roots."Contrary to popular belief, your lawn does not need water every day, even on the hottest summer days," Law said. "If your lawn is healthy and mature, has been properly fertilized and is growing at recommended lengths for summer weather, you can train your lawn to get along on a lot less water."

- Remember to fertilize the lawn regularly. A well-fertilized lawn is healthier and thus needs less water.

- Aerate the lawn, which will make it easier for water and nutrients to reach roots.

- Lawns that are a little longer provide their own shade, requiring less water. Bluegrass turf can be left 21/2 to 3 inches long. To avoid shocking grass plants and causing them to lose their root systems, no more than 1/3-inch of the blade should be cut at a time.

Other tips:

- Water lawns and gardens after dark or early in the morning. Don't water when it's windy. Water deeply.

- Make sure water gets where it's needed. Don't water the gutter, driveway or sidewalk.

- Plant trees and plants that don't use much water, such as pines.

- Put mulch around trees and plants, which will slow evaporation of water and discourage weeds.

- Check for drips and leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings.